The next morning, as we are checking out of the Hôtel Lutétia, a messenger arrives from Madame Cantin’s fromagerie. He has a very large bundle for me. Two vacuum-packed parcels wrapped in tissue paper. About 10 kilos of unpasteurized cheeses, including all four rounds of the Epoisses Madame Cantin had in her shop.
I also have Camembert de Normandie, Langres, Vacherin Mont d’Or, and a dozen different fresh chèvres, some covered in ash, others rippling with a pale blue mold, all completely and totally illegal to bring back to the States.
My wife looks at me with alarm. “What’s that smell?” she says as I hand her the packages and ask her to carry them for me.
“It’s nothing,” I tell her. “Just a little cheese.”
“Is it okay to bring back?”
I do my little French snort. “Of course,” I lie. “It’s nothing. Rien, rien, rien.” And then, as the taxi pulls away from the hotel, the precious bundles of cheese sitting prettily on her lap, I give her a kiss on the cheek. “Trust me, darling.”
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